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Orange wine making a splash in NYC

Why we're loving orange wine at the table these days.

The 2006 Vodopivek Vitovska Amphora is one of the Orange Wines served at Tocqueville and 15 East. Credit: Angela Hadl The 2006 Vodopivek Vitovska Amphora is one of the Orange Wines served at Tocqueville and 15 East.
Credit: Angela Hadl

We love a crisp rosé just as much as the next person, but this summer, we’re noticing orange wines in bloom at restaurants across the city.

Orange wine is essentially the opposite of a rosé. A rosé is a light red wine; orange wine is actually a dark white wine. Orange wine is a category of these dark whites — the color isn’t Nickelodeon orange, per se, but rather something more golden or brownish in color.

“What winemakers would do is say OK, let’s treat our whites like reds,” says Laura Maniec, the master sommelier and co-founder of Corkbuzz Wine Studio. “What historically we do is separate juice from skins in white wine. Now let’s ferment our white juice with white skins and see if it does anything.” It does do something, after all — create the orange-y vino that’s got a flavor a bit different from your usual pinot blanc.

“Expect something more oxidative in nature,” she says. One way to figure out if you’ll like it: Are you more the type who likes a freshly-cut apple, or an apple that’s been sitting out for a bit and is a little less tangy? If you prefer the latter, orange wine may be your new go-to.

“It will be a departure from that fresh and zippy style,” Maniec adds. “You get texture like a red but it’s refreshing like a white.”

The one thing you might not like about orange wine? The sticker price. Indeed, “it’s very hard to find an orange wine under $20,” Maniec says.

Where to drink it

Felice 64
1166 First Ave., 212-593-2223
The rustic Italian restaurant offers one from Azienda Agricola COS in Sicilia, Pithos Bianco, for $17 a glass.

Tocqueville and 15 East
Tocqueville: 1 E. 15th St., 212-647-1515
15 East: 15 E. 15th St., 212-647-0015
There are two by-the-bottle options, a 2006 Vitovska Amphora Vodopivec Friuli Italy ($140), and a 2003 Ribolla Gialla Amphora Gravner Venezia Giulia ($195). Says Hiromi Kiyama, the sommelier at 15 East: “The Vodopivec wine is somewhat ethereal: hazy-rose-colored, smokey and honeyed and full of minerals. The Gravner is a white wine that drinks like a red: weighty, tannic and dry. We have them on our list because they are delicious with food and because they are adventurous."

 
 
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